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Making Kale/Collard Sauerkraut at Wild Willow Farm November 8, 2013

Filed under: Gardening,Sustainability — explorergarden @ 8:17 am

Fermented foods are full of beneficial micro-organisms — probiotics — bacterial that live in our gut and help us digest our food. Today we learned to make sauerkraut. Here’s what we did:

Harvest kale, collards and dinosaur kale.

Clean the leaves.

Chop them up finely.

Add 2 tsp salt for every pound of vegetables.

Massage salt into the kale until it “weeps” liquid.

Add herbs and spices.

Push the veggies into a sterile jar — and cram in until the liquid floats on top.

Store covered at room temperature for four days to allow fermentation. Make sure that there is always liquid on the top.

Uncover and refrigerate. Eat!

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Making Cheese at Wild Willow Farm

Filed under: Animals,Gardening,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 8:06 am

Our Farming 101 class at Wild Willow Farm learned how to make living foods from our produce today:

First, chevre from the farm’s goat milk;

Here are the steps to making chevre, or goat cheese.

Take goat milk — fresh, or store-bought, either will do. Cat heated  the milk to exactly 90 degrees, added cheese culture — the appropriate bacteria — then let it sit 8 hours, covered. The resulting “cake” was then drained in a colander and covered to release the whey; later, salt and herbs were added.


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Detroit Urban Farming

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 6:41 am

Here’s a link to a blog I have just started following. Amazing things are happening in urban areas — especially Detroit! Check it out!


Weeds Find a Way

Filed under: Books,Environmental Education,Everything Under the Sun,Gardening — explorergarden @ 1:10 am


My new book, Weeds Find a Way, is coming out in a few short months! Here’s a link to an interview I just had with Henry Herz at, an online journal.

The first review of WEEDS is in, and it’s lovely. This is from Kirkus:

Adaptable weeds find ways to spread themselves and their seeds, to grow in strange places, and to be loved and admired.

Mixed-media digital collage illustrations on double-page spreads follow a girl and her dog through a world of weeds, from seeds to flowers. Sometimes—as in an image of milkweed seeds shooting from a pod—these pictures focus on the weeds themselves; sometimes they include parts of the girl or dog; and some are full scenes. Weed seeds wait through a winter snow. They bake on hot sidewalks. They sprout “in a tangle of tree roots” and flower into “umbrellas of the finest white lace.” Some shatter and spread when pulled; others avoid being eaten, thanks to thorns and poisons. The hand-lettered alliterative text provides a simple introduction to the idea of weeds. With very few lines to each page, it reads aloud smoothly. The author, a California-based nature educator, includes a “Meet the Weeds” afterword, defining them as plants growing where they aren’t wanted and describing 24 common U.S. weeds, from dandelions to wild oats. A small, suggestive image accompanies each description.

Neither formal introduction nor field guide, this unusual reminder of weeds’ admirable qualities nevertheless merits a place on the nature-study shelf of preschool and early-elementary classrooms. (Informational picture book. 3-7)


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